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Old Mutual Global Investors to open S'pore office (Amended)


THE asset management arm of London-based Old Mutual Group is about to set up a sales office in Singapore in a bid to tap demand from Asia, capitalising on recent market swings, as its home ground matures.

Warren Tonkinson, managing director of Old Mutual Global Investors (OMGI), said on Friday that it is seeing more demand from investors here for its "absolute return" mutual funds amid expectations of "continued volatility" in global markets,

OMGI now manages about US$250 million in assets under management (AUM) for Singapore clients, he said in an interview at the Fullerton hotel, and hinted that it aims to at least double that in three years.

The firm's global AUM has climbed from around £5 billion in 2012 to about £24 billion (S$49.6 billion) at the end of last year, he said, adding that it wants to at least double that to £50 billion in three years.

Most of the AUM growth will have to come from outside the United Kingdom, where OMGI already has an established presence, he noted, adding that it sees its upcoming Singapore office as a launchpad for expansion across South-east Asia.

Its Singapore clients are mostly high net worth individuals via private banks and the firm is managing their assets from its Hong Kong office prior to establishing a Singapore office, which it expects to happen by the end of June 2016, said Mr Tonkinson, who is based in London.

Though he declined to estimate how many people the Singapore office would have, he said it might employ Singapore-based portfolio managers further down the road. He said OMGI would be looking to market products such as its global equities "absolute return" fund.

OMGI was virtually unknown until around mid-2013 when it hired star fund manager Richard Buxton away from Schroders. Mr Buxton took over as OMGI's chief executive in August 2015 alongside a restructuring of Old Mutual Group's asset management division.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that OMGI expects to establish a Singapore office by the end of June 2015. The date should in fact be end of June 2016. The article above has been revised to reflect this.